Manuel Burse is a CWA Local 1037 Shop Steward and a Direct Support Professional at ARC of Essex for the past 14 years.
Tell us about your work. What do you do? [MB] – I’m an overnight DSP. I assist individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who live in the ARC residential communities, providing care and support for their needs.
Has being in a union helped in building solidarity? [MB] – Definitely, I have learned to understand other people and their concerns and issues and build better relationships. My coworkers and I respect and cooperate with each other.
What have you learned from your time as a Shop Steward? [MB] – It’s not about me. It’s about us. (I also come from a family of Shop Stewards: My father and both my brothers!)
Do you have any tips for members considering becoming a Shop Steward? [MB] – Communicate and make sure to get all the information to resolve issues.
On Thursday, July 14, CWA 1037 Members who are Administrative Assistants at La Casa De Don Pedro, with support from NJ Communities United, delivered a petition to Director Peter Rosario demanding a pay increase for out-of-title work.
Workers have been fulfilling duties outside of their scope of work including responsibilities such as those of family counselors, food service workers, and cleaning and janitorial staff.
The workload placed upon workers with no pay increase is unjust. Workers are no longer accepting being overworked and underpaid. “Un ‘Gracias’ no es suficiente!” ‘THANK YOU’ is not enough!
On Tuesday, July 12, DCF Administrative Clerical CWA 1037 and 1038 Stewards of Department of Children and Families, traveled to Trenton to deliver over 1400 letters to DCF Commissioner, Christine Norbut Beyer, urging her to include DCF Clerical in the Telework Pilot Program.
The letters, part of a campaign to urge the Commissioner to reconsider the exclusion, were signed by CWA members and supporters sent to the DCF Commissioner, the Civil Service Commission, and Governor Murphy.
Shop Stewards, wearing CWA red, marched to the DCF Headquarters in Trenton to request a meeting with the Commissioner to discuss the blanket exclusion of clerical staff in DCP&P and SER. However, after waiting over 45 minutes, workers were told that the Commissioner was not available. The Commissioner did not meet with the workers and did not send anyone from her office to accept the letters. Instead, a representative from Employee Relations accepted the letters. CWA Shop Stewards sat with the Employee Relations representative to discuss that the exclusion of workers who were deemed the backbone of the workplace during the height of the pandemic was a lack of respect.